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Only Showing Readability Statistics

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Only Showing Readability Statistics.

When you do a grammar check on your document, the very last step performed by Word is to display a set of readability statistics that you can use to analyze the presentation of your content. There may be times when you want to only display the readability statistics, without going through the complete grammar check first. Unfortunately, Word does not provide a way to do this. You can, however, create a macro that will display the readability statistics quite nicely. The heart of such a macro would be the ReadabilityStatistics collection.

To get an idea how such a macro could be written, consider the following single-line macro:

Sub CheckTest()
    MsgBox ActiveDocument.Content.ReadabilityStatistics(9).Value
End Sub

This macro displays a number that represents the Flesch Reading Ease value, ninth member of the ReadabilityStatistics collection. There are 10 individual elements in the collection, as follows:

Index Meaning
1 Words
2 Characters
3 Paragraphs
4 Sentences
5 Sentences per Paragraph
6 Words per Sentence
7 Characters per Word
8 Passive Sentences
9 Flesch Reading Ease
10 Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level

To display all ten statistics (as would be done in a complete grammar check of your document), all you need to do is have your macro step through the various members of the collection and display their values. The following macro does just that:

Sub Readability()
    Dim DocStats As String
    Dim MBTitle As String
    Dim J As Integer

    MBTitle = "Readability Statistics"
    DocStats = ""
    With ActiveDocument.Content
        For J = 1 to 10
            DocStats = DocStats & .ReadabilityStatistics(J)
            DocStats = DocStats & ": "
            DocStats = DocStats & .ReadabilityStatistics(J).Value
            DocStats = DocStats & vbCrLf
        Next J
    End With
    MsgBox DocStats, vbOKOnly, MBTitle
End Sub

When you run the macro, understand that it takes a bit of time to run. In fact, depending on the speed of your system, the length of your document, and its complexity, it can take quite a bit of time to run. Be patient; once the ten statistics are completed, they are displayed on the screen.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1784) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Only Showing Readability Statistics.

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Comments for this tip:

Terje    26 Jul 2016, 05:27
This macro is great but it did not show passive sentences the same way as word. For example "The cat was chased by the dog". is show as 0 passive. (Using Word 2013). Any suggestions would much appreciated.
Ken Endacott    25 Jun 2015, 09:20

The Content property is only available for all of a document.

You would need to copy the text into a blank document then run the macro on that document.
Sonja Rummell    24 Jun 2015, 11:52
Hi there,
This macro is great and has seriously helped me with some research I am doing. I'm just wondering whether there is a way to apply it to selected text only? Thanks so much!
jeremy davis    29 Aug 2012, 10:35
Duh. I just read the rest of the info on the page. I'll try the one for Word 2007 now. Thanks, jeremy
jeremy davis    29 Aug 2012, 10:34
I just implemented this macro on Word 2007 and tried it on a short document. The results are quite different from the results obtained from running readability through spell check. Any ideas why that would be? Also, passive sentences comes up as 0 even though the word stats show 40%.

Thanks, Jeremy
Nigel Benetton    21 Aug 2012, 03:59
This is very clever, and answers the irritation of having to waste time running the grammar & style checker before Microsoft gives you the statistics. I have a 168 000 word doc, for example, and there was no way I was going to spend hours clicking 'ignore' before I got to the readability statistics. Instead the macro took 4 seconds: I now have to work out what the results mean! Thanks for working this out and sharing it with us. Best wishes, Nigel

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